As we head into National Health IT Week … like any good writer faced with a blank sheet, I was battling writers block by perusing Facebook. Coincidentally, I came across this HBR article. Healthcare — on the front page of the Harvard Business Review; so main-stream!
I implemented a Radiology Information System in 2000 and an electronic Medication Administration Record (MAR) in 2002. Back in the day, healthcare IT was the underdog, only the geekiest of geeks were up all night comparing paper MARs to electronic MARs, working side by side with the nurses and HIM to iron out bugs and taking delivery of new code into the wee hours of the morning.
Then I thought about previous National Health IT Week events. I remember gathering in DC with a bunch of other healthcare IT geeks professionals, discussing the importance of health IT. Many may not realize the type of advocacy and awareness that occurs during this week – it’s pretty impactful. We had the unique experience of walking to the office of Senator Dick Durbin, meeting with him and requesting his assistance in making healthcare IT top of mind.
We’ve come a long way. But. We have a long way to go.
In the recent past healthcare has invested heavily in applications and infrastructure; EMR adoption is up, people are commonly using the words “healthcare analytics” and “data” is everyone’s favorite four letter word. As data surfaces to the top of minds, gaining access to it, improving the quality of it and making sure that everyone trusts it has to be the next step for healthcare providers and payers. Hand coding interactions between systems is time intensive and error prone, information in aggregate magnifies data inconsistencies and data quality errors – for example, it’s always surprising to learn how many different ways a single enterprise can document marital status.
The reason to drill into this data is that locked in this data are the keys to value driven healthcare. To derive value from data, a commiserate investment in data is necessary. I hope that this year’s National Health IT week includes a focus on and discussion of the data itself – making it accessible and trustworthy — and the types of tools required to do this. Becoming data-driven is the only way to succeed in this value based model we are moving to. The three pillars of data driven healthcare are 1) Accessing and Using Data as an Asset, 2) Having Knowledge of All Participants and Actors and 3) Taking Action on What you Know.